chapter  1
21 Pages

European diplomacy and the origins of governmentality


In the final instalment of his remarkable lectures of 1977-78 (Security, Territory, Population: STP), with their central focus on the history of “governmental” practices and rationality, Michel Foucault collectively characterises those lectures as one way of approaching the genealogy of the modern state (Foucault 2007: 354; 2008: 76-78). His emphasis, therefore, is primarily on what today we would label the “domestic” sphere of politics1 – to take one term of a distinction that is no doubt internal to these emergent practices and rationalities themselves (Bartelson 1995: 85-86, 137ff., 186-87, 209ff.). This of course has not been any barrier to the deployment of Foucault’s ideas within international theory: there is currently a burgeoning literature, for instance, on international and “global governmentality” (e.g. Lippert 1999; Larner and Walters 2004a, 2004b; Hindess 2000; Sending and Neumann 2006, 2007). Yet the connection between governmentality and the international realm is not simply one of theoretical export, extension or application. For it does not require an especially close reading of STP to notice that the international realm plays an important role in Foucault’s own story. One might indeed plausibly argue that “the international” has had a significant constitutive influence on the development of governmentality, both as a historical practice/rationality and as a technical concept (McMillan 2008).